Houston smoke plume prompts Texas lawsuit as Deer Park fire reignites

Houston smoke plume prompts Texas lawsuit as Deer Park fire reignites

Source: Fort Worth Star-Telegram, March 23, 2019
Posted on: http://www.advisen.com

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton is suing the company in Houston where a fire has been burning throughout the week at a petrochemical storage site.

The fire at the Intercontinental Terminals Company’s tank farm in Deer Park was extinguished Wednesday but reignited Friday and is causing concerns due to possible airborne and liquid toxins released by the blaze.

Paxton filed the suit on Friday on grounds that the fire, which has caused chemicals to spill from the tank farm, is releasing harmful pollution in the air. In the suit, Paxton said the Intercontinental Terminals Company is violating the Texas Clean Air Act.

“The state of Texas works hard to maintain good air quality and will hold ITC accountable for the damage it has done to our environment,” Paxton said in a press release. “ITC has a history of environmental violations, and this latest incident is especially disturbing and frightening. No company can be allowed to disrupt lives and put public health and safety at risk.”

Dangerous emissions such as benzene have been leaking into the air due to the fire, The Associated Press reported. The tanks contained components of gasoline and materials used in nail-polish remover, glues and paint thinner.

A wall surrounding the damaged tank farm at the storage facility breached early Friday afternoon, causing the closure of part of the Houston Ship Channel, the Houston Chronicle reported.

Most of the chemicals identified in the fire are used in the production of gasoline, and short-term exposure to their fumes can cause fatigue, dizziness, and headaches, the attorney general’s statement said. Residents of Deer Park and neighboring Galena Park were told to stay indoors twice this week due to the fire.

The federal Chemical Safety Board, which investigates serious chemical accidents, announced yesterday that it is opening an investigation into the ITC fire, Paxton’s statement said.

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